Meet You There: Original Chants to Rumi's Poetry

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"I want to sing like the birds sing, not worrying about who hears and what they think." -Rumi


Here's My Story:

I have been singing and making original Jewish music for 18 years, creating albums like "Miriam's Drum", (world music based on Hebrew chants), and "The Water Castle", (a Kabbalistic Rock Opera based on a Chassidic fairy tale). I have performed, primarily for women, across Israel, North America, and as far as Moscow, leading a movement of women creating music for women, as part of a Renaissance of Jewish Women's expression. As a musician and Chaplain, the connection between music and healing is my passion. I live in the holy city of Tzfat, where I record, perform, and work for the non-profit Music & Memory, providing personalized music to the elderly. A recent and traumatic life shake up left me starting over at age 40, with two little girls and a newborn baby in tow. Out of the ashes rose this music, my re-connection and soul's love affair with the ancient Persian Poet, Rumi. I feel that the universal nature of Rumi's poetry, sung in English, can make his work accessible to many, and be a breakthrough album in my musical journey, allowing me to further spread my message of the healing power of music. My dream is that this music bring healing and joy on both personal and social levels, creating a common language of the heart that transcends boundaries and mends divisions. Singing together, awakening together, connects people like no other kind of communication.

How it all began

A couple of years ago, I was creating a Spiritual Care workshop for Arab, Jewish, and Russian health care workers in Israel, and was challenged to find spiritual teachings that are universal and inspiring. I had read Rumi's poetry years before during a serious study of Persian classical singing, and had always felt that his words awakened my soul in very direct and trans-formative way. After becoming religious, and moving to Israel, I had lost touch somewhat with his work, but the moment I returned to his startlingly clear, mind-blowing way of expressing the Soul's search (and find), I was struck by these melodies as if by lightening. They commanded my total focus and attention, and they just kept coming, one after another. The songs have been resonating within me ever since. I have sung them many times, in many places over the past few years, and they have an expansive and trans-formative affect on me, the musicians I play with, and listeners, who become part of the music by singing along to the cyclical, heart-centering chants. I have teamed up with some of the best Israeli musicians, such as Shye Ben Tzur, to create a classical album of lasting value, which I pray will do justice to Rumi's heart-opening words of inclusion, faith, and trust. Eastern and Western instruments and rhythms combine seamlessly, the healing 432 Hz tuning, to bring a ground breaking collection of songs to a world in need of uplift and inspiration.

What I Need/What You Get

I need $5000 to finish the album, plus another $13,000 for post production, marketing, and a video to make get the music out. I have poured all of my financial resources, which has been difficult as a single mother, into the album so far. It is not enough to just make the music; people need to know about this project, and that takes funding to do it right. This music deserves to be created, and marketed, in a high quality way.
Supporters will get a variety of perks, like: digital downloads/signed hard copies of the album/advanced download of my newest, upcoming single, "Bridge Over Troubled Water"/ a box set of my CDs/online one on one meetings for singing classes and guided imagery sessions, and in the case of big donors, dedications to loved ones on the CD itself.
Whatever I earn will go directly to the project, getting me as close to my goal as possible. The first funding will go towards completion of recording, mixing and mastering, graphic design, photography, printing, and digital distribution. Beyond that, funds will be used for making an AMAZING music video to publicize the album. More funding will make it possible to push the video and album on social media and YouTube, as well as creating a professional marketing campaign, with media impact, hopefully leading to articles, interviews, and eventually, a tour to promote the album. The full amount will allow me to finish the album and give it a significant push out into the world.

A New Kind of Music

I have been creating music for many years. Check out my track record of fresh, cutting edge world music. I have always been grass-roots in my approach, and have never had the budget to really market my work. My most recent fundraising project was a music video, that reached over 50k views, showing me what is possible when dedication and funding meet. Your donation will help me to give this work the chance it needs to really open hearts across the world, and spread a message of hope for our continued coexistence on the planet, feeding a spiritual hunger that is nearly universal, the world over, in our disconnected, often virtual worlds.

Oh Lord, Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood

Some people may not understand why I am doing this project. My Jewish audience may question my decision to focus on a Sufi poet. After all, many consider Jews and Muslims to be enemies, and certainly there is room for more communication, connection and love between our peoples. Some might object to my music simply because of my address: Northern Israel. Some might accuse me of cultural appropriation, in my drawing on the poems of a different spiritual tradition for inspiration. Some religious Jews will insist that my time would be better spent on promoting artistic works based on our Jewish Tradition. The fact is, this album may not be understood, and I, in turn, may not be understood artistically for making it. I might lose fans, or be a victim of racism from either side. Antisemitism is breaking out all over the world; putting myself out publicly could draw attention I might regret. Perhaps it would have been safer to use my money to buy a little house for me and my kids, and put aside this dream of making what I believe with be my most powerful album to date, or stay safe in Jewish themes and my small but dedicated following? But that is not my path. As Rumi wrote,

“Run from what's comfortable. Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious. I have tried prudent planning long enough. From now on I'll be mad.”

I hope you will join with me because art is beyond religion, beyond language; and song itself predates creation according to the Jewish tradition. I'm following the call of my heart. I hope this music, when finished, will soothe and inspire, cracking open our hearts to let the light in....and out. I just have to keep singing my songs, and hope that more and more people from all walks of life will continue to sing along, and find a common harmony.

Other Ways You Can Help

Please let people know what I am doing, spreading the word about my project, especially those who you think will resonate.
And please use the Indiegogo share tools!

Bringing Healing on Many Levels

There are so many ways this music can benefit the world. First of all for every person who hears the songs and is reminded of the Heart pulsing within creation. So much of our world is focused on what separates us as individuals, as nations, as men and women. But at heart we have so much commonality; it is my hope and prayer that these songs will be part of the healing force in the Universe that helps to humanize and reveal our common ground as the sub-set of humans I call Rumi People. There are many of us. Just read a few lines of Rumi's poetry to find out if you are a member of this tribe. I envision festivals and gatherings where we can come together to share the hopes, dreams and visions that unite us; in song. This music is also going to be good for healing treatments, meditation, and prayer. Rather than a frontal listening experience, the music surrounds, enlivens, and also rises from within each of our hearts and souls. All are welcome. As the poem says,

"Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, idolater, worshiper of fire. Come even though you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come and come yet again, ours is not a caravan of despair." -Rumi
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Organizer

Tziona Achishena 
Organizer
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